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Playlists Illustration: Rubén Cabrera (Goat). Illustration: Rubén Cabrera (Goat).

The 3:10 o'clock playlist to Yuma

At the beginning of November, the whole world, expectantly, was paralyzed. The elections in the United States, as a geopolitical event and media show, occupied social networks and the big headlines; while many in Cuba located on the map, perhaps for the first time, the last states in dispute. But the cradle of hip hop, bluegrass, R&B, has always coexisted in the Cuban collective imagination. History shows it, and music too. 

Therefore, today in Magazine AM:PM We wanted to undertake a journey that transports us from coast to coast and where Cuban musicians connect with the sounds and geographies of the Union. With this playlist the journey towards US territory sounds like mambo, jazz, trova, like a song. It also tastes of the embrace between cultures, of respect for creation. 

San Francisco / iraquere feat. Chucho Valdés  

Yemayá (Blue Note, 1998) is a controversial album, because it marks the transition from Chucho Valdés, director of the most powerful jazz orchestra in Cuban music, to Chucho Valdés soloist at the beginning of the century. Fissures aside, the result continues to be an all-star like only the Quivicán giant knows how to achieve, with pieces such as San Francisco, a tasty instant standard in which boogaloo piano tumbao and exuberant brass—particularly César López's sax—take us to the best possible sunset from the Golden State Bridge.

De Nueva York a La Habana / Gemma and Pavel 

Theme 17 of that double jewel that is Art Bembe (El Europeo, 2003), an interactive album where they exist, not only because of the extraordinary list of guests and instrumentalists, but also because of the number of genres of our music that appear and because it was recorded between the United States, Spain and La Havana. 

California / Carlos Varela      

The seventh track by the silent scream (independent, 2019) returns us to a nostalgic Carlos for the “land of immigrants, hippies, gays, grass and redwood forests”. For the singer-songwriter, the golden state inhabits his voice and memory, and becomes a place where “to love each other, there is no need for law or governments, or oratory”. 

Inspiration in Connecticut  / Harold Lopez-Nussa

A small club in a dreamy little town in the No. 5 state in the Union. Harold and his musicians, on a tour of deep North America and, suddenly, a tuned piano in their hands. The composer could not resist the temptation to capture his mood, there, then. The theme is included in Trip (Mack Avenue, 2016), the first album by a Cuban jazz player produced by an American record company after the milestone of reestablishing relations between the United States and Cuba.

A Cuban in New York / Bimbi and her Oriental Trio 

The hard life of the Latin emigrant in this great city is told in this issue thanks to the unparalleled picaresque of the guaracha and the sharpness that always characterized Bimbi. The language barrier and discrimination are exposed here at the height of the year 1940, through a replay of the lexicon in the key of spanglish, with the montuno that recursively hammers like a voice of conscience, to say: "Get hard Cuban, you're in New York."

new orleans / Chucho Valdés & The Afro-Cuban Messengers

Honor, honor, Chucho Valdés knows this well, who in 2010 included this tremendous song with which he pays homage to the Marsalis family, one of the fundamental pillars of the musical tradition in the most caribbean of the north american states. With trumpets as protagonists, and with Chucho's piano setting the pace, the sextet runs wild in a frenzied journey through sounds in which one can breathe, more or less explicitly, the vapors of the cradle of jazz.

myamera / Pavel Urquiza

A tribute to Miami, a city of nuances and contrasts, of hopes and pains, of people from everywhere, races and social contexts; set of islands connected by expressways where not all faces smile every day. Pável Urquiza composes this collage with pieces of that city and summons several Cuban singers and musicians who live in Florida or in other states of the Union for a multilingual theme, but that still sounds Cuban. 

California in key / Roberto Carcasses

This is, perhaps, a love song. a song with swing, sensual. A song to listen to on a full moon night, from a balcony in Havana or from Oakland, a city on the east side of the San Francisco Bay, where a few years ago Roberto Carcassés sat down to compose this track. appears on the album shade (Interactive Records, 2008) and the lyrics are co-authored by the Cuban pianist with Scheherazade Stone. 

manhattan burn / Paquito D'Rivera

This song is an example of the irrepressible diversity that characterizes the album it names, published by the Cuban saxophonist in 1987. It is jazz, yes, but as it progresses, one suspects that the theme is turning into others, and that everyone they are burning alongside Manhattan (as if Manhattan were the giant heart of New York about to explode in any of the six minutes of the track). 

Van Van meets New Orleans / Harold Lopez-Nussa 

One of the great songs from the latest album by pianist Harold López-Nussa: I told you (Mack Avenue Records, 2020), composed for four hands with the trumpeter Maykel González, where they mix the Anglo-Saxon tradition with Latin rhythms, playing to imagine what an orchestra like Los Van Van would sound like if it had been born in New Orleans. Double tribute to the locomotive of Cuban music and to the jazz city par excellence of the great neighbor to the North.  

Georgia On My Mind / Arturo Sandoval

If there is an American territory that filled our conversations for this month of November, it is the state of Georgia. Here we remember her with this song written in 1930 by Hoagy Carmichael and that our Arturo Sandoval interprets in the best way he knows: through trumpet and in Spanish. 

manhattan mambo / Perez Prado

sergio santana In his investigations, he tells us that this is one of the issues that obeys a commercial strategy well thought out by the king of the mambo: to captivate the North American public not only through his music, but also to try to capture it first with local titles. In this string are also broadway mambo or st louis blues.   

Hialeah / Harold López-Nussa

TheHow delicious sounds Harold! In a live on Facebook while rehearsing, in the NPR's Tiny Desk Concert, at the Kennedy Center, and playing Hialeah in the streets of Old Havana accompanied by Gastón Joya and Ruy Adrián López-Nussa. Harold enjoys himself while playing in the sun, and hums what his hands tell us to listen to. Born as a melody to accompany fragments of the character represented by Isabel Santos in the film It's not before, the theme was later completed by its author as his particular musical representation of what is probably the most Cuban neighborhood in Florida.

A bongo player in New Orleans / Pancho Amat

Pancho Amat has always insisted to us that between Cuba and New Orleans there are more musical kinships than at first glance. But expressing these links through an instrument as Cuban as the tres, and with such an ancestral format that it orbits around the septets, are more difficult words, although Pancho himself tells us that this has always been there. A very elaborate, intelligent, funny composition and, at the same time, respectful of those bonds, which tells us about the adventures of a bongo player on a very, very short tour.

Arrival in New York / Column B

Although the theme that opens the album Twisted Moon (Bombo Musical Productions, 2001) was written by Roberto Carcassés and Yosvany Terry for the soundtrack of the film Violet, it is not fortuitous that it is the first cut of the disc. In an autobiographical sense, the title of the song also refers to the arrival of the saxophonist in the city that never sleeps, and it is a display of the best latin jazz in which Carcassés on piano, Jesús Díaz on percussion, and Terry's vibrant sax stand out in particular —with the desire to make a place for himself in the mecca of jazz, as has actually happened.

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